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Greenstone wrestlers make history

Team competes at OFSAA high school championships for the first time.
Alyssa Shaganash, from left, Lucie Penny, head coach Kate Beaulieu and Paige O’Quinn represented the Greenstone Wilds high school wrestling team at OFSAA earlier this month.

GREENSTONE – The first year for the Greenstone Wilds high school wrestling program will be pretty hard to top.

The Wilds, which is a twinned team consisting of students from Geraldton Composited High School and École Secondaire Chateau-Jeunesse in Longlac, sent three members to this year’s Ontario Federation of School Athletics Associations (OFSAA) championships on March 5 and 6.

“I know the school has sent athletes to the provincial badminton and track field events, but that was a long time ago,” said Wilds head coach Kate Beaulieu.

“It was a big deal for everyone and I know everyone is going to be working hard to go back again next year.”

Alyssa Shaganash, Lucie Penny and Paige O’Quinn represented the team at the event in Hannon, located just outside of Hamilton.

The event is a totally different beast to what the wrestlers deal with at regional competitions as there are 10 mats in use and matches taking place all day long.

“It’s a lot bigger and a lot faster paced than what you would see at a normal high school tournament in Thunder Bay,” Beaulieu said.

“There’s around 900 wrestlers and 1,500 matches that happen over the course of a day-and-a-half, so there’s quite a lot happening.”

While Beaulieu is used to busy meets from her days competing with the Lakehead Thunderwolves, she knew it was something that could be overwhelming for the Wild trio.

With that in mind, she made sure to tell the team to enjoy the experience.

“It’s a real great opportunity to manage your mental game because there’s so much going on,” Beaulieu said. “You need to learn pretty quickly about how not to freak out and how to be calm before you wrestle a match.

“I know that there’s a mental aspect for other sports, but there is something about wrestling where it’s just you out there and there’s times where you can be overwhelmed and nervous as a young athlete.

“So, a lot of our work before the meet was just learning how to navigate that, stay focused and prepared.”

While it was an athletics competition, Beauileu believes that students at both schools can be inspired by the fact that their classmates attended a major provincial event.

“It shows the kids that there are opportunities out there and they can work hard to get to where they want to go and achieve the things they want to achieve,” Beauileu said.

“It’s not out of the realm of possibility for one of our students to be an OFSAA champion one day and it trickles over to other things too, whether that’s in sports or general life. They can reach beyond what they might have thought was realistic for them.”

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